Work and Travel in Gambia
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN GAMBIA FOR TRAVELLERS
The Gambia hit headlines in recent years due to the toppling of its long time dictator. Today, the Gambia is welcoming foreign visitors again. You may have got itchy feet and now you want to travel in the Gambia. But before you grab the first plane to this former British colony, you need to know more about what it’s like to work and travel in the Gambia.
Our travel guide to the Gambia (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/the-gambia) is going to show you everything you need to know about this tiny West African country.
1. Support the Disabled in the Gambia
The Gambia’s disabled are some of the most vulnerable in society that commonly get ignored. Little has changed on this front following the toppling of the country’s dictator. You can play a part in helping the disabled as you work in the Gambia.
As part of this project, you’ll be working with other volunteers to provide the most basic of services to the disabled. You may be helping them learn skills to help them into work one day or just keeping them company if they don’t have any family members to support them.
It’s a rewarding project that will leave you feeling like you made a real difference.
2. Help with Construction in the Gambia
The Gambia’s crumbling infrastructure are a result of its poor economic growth numbers. That’s why some of the best volunteering opportunities in the Gambia involve helping to reconstruct public buildings, particularly in the education sector.
It helps if you already have skills when it comes to DIY. It could be as something as complex as electronics or something as simple as being able to paint.
As long as you’re willing to work hard every day, this will be the type of project you could partake in as you travel in the Gambia.
3. Share Your Computer Literacy Skills in the Gambia
West Africa is among the most underdeveloped areas in the world. Nowhere is this most apparent as within the field of computer literacy. You can share your skills with locals.
Show them how to use the computer as you work and travel in the Gambia. You can show them how to carry out basic functions and how they could use their digital skills to improve their businesses and provide themselves with better livelihoods.
All you need to do to qualify for these volunteer projects is to be from a developed country and be able to perform basic functions on a computer.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR GAMBIA
The Gambia allows only visa-free entry to 19 countries. Thankfully, these are all developed countries. So if you’re from the UK, Russia, Germany, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand you’ll be able to travel in the Gambia for 90 days without any problems (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/the-gambia/entry-requirements).
Countries like France and the United States can get a visa-on-arrival for 30 days (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/TheGambia.html).
To make things even more complicated, countries like South Korea can only go to the Gambia without a visa if they’re on a chartered flight on holiday. Independent travel requires a trip to the nearest Gambian embassy.
On the other hand, you have countries like Japan where a visa is required. South Africans have it even worse because they need to have a visa and obtain pre-clearance in order to enter the country (https://www.banjulairport.com/visa_gambia.php), which is a bureaucratic nightmare.
The Gambia has a very confusing visa policy, so make sure you look up the requirements for your country before you assume anything.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN GAMBIA
The Gambia has long been a popular holiday destination in West Africa because of its agreeable climate. It’s one of the few places where you have distinct seasons with little to no overlap. The spring season is the dry season, so you can expect to have a good many options for work in the Gambia if you travel at this time of year.
Due to the way the dry season works, you should consider working in conservation. The Gambia, despite its size, enjoys a varied ecosystem, including primates. You can help protect them and their habitat by joining one of the many conservation organisations there.
It’s an excellent time to do this on the coastlines as these are dry and see some of the most tolerable weather of the year.
The summer is the rainy season and is one of the worst times to visit. You should head to the urbanised areas to avoid the rains. Working in orphanages, schools, and sharing your skills with the locals will help you make a difference.
Part of the autumn season is the rainy season until October, before the dry season takes over again. You can choose the projects displayed in either of these two sections for autumn. There are no specific skills required at this time of year.
The winter time is the dry season again. We recommend referring back to the ‘Spring’ section for further information regarding some of the things you can do during winter.
You can also indulge in some of the urbanised projects, where you work with local people. Homestays are also an option throughout the year. You’ll stay with a local family and get to know what the real side of the country is like. All you’ll have to offer is some work around the house, which could be DIY or helping out with childcare.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN GAMBIA
It’s relatively easy to work and travel in the Gambia because it was an English colony, so there’s little to no language barrier here. It has also been a popular place for holidaymakers to visit from Europe, so it’s more developed than you might think.
Just beware of the grifters in the coastal areas. Everyone else will be happy to see you, especially in the remote areas, but there is that scammy undercurrent in some of the coastal areas.
Do you have what it takes to travel in the Gambia?
- Edited on Dec 11 2018 by Marichka